Featuring its trademark mix of mainstream jazz, blues and pop acts, the Playboy Jazz Festival will be headlined by Chicago blues guitarist Buddy Guy, singer Dianne Reeves and Jimmy Fallon’s eclectic house band the Roots, making their fest debut, for its 33rd edition at the Hollywood Bowl the weekend of June 11-12.
Also appearing for the first time will be legendary 83-year-old alto-saxophonist Lee Konitz, as will fusion supergroup Harmony 3 — consisting of multi-reedist Ronnie Laws, saxophonist Walter Beasley and guitarist Stanley Jordan.
Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who frequently scores Spike Lee’s movies, will be a guest performer with the Roots, known for their blend of rap, hip-hop and jazz. Reeves will be making her eighth appearance at the event.
Also set for return engagements are Fourplay, this time with guitarist Chuck Loeb, who replaced Larry Carlton in 2010; a capella ensemble Naturally 7, which made a splash in its fest debut last year; and salsa bandleader Eddie Palmieri.
In addition, jazz/blues guitarists and fest regulars John Scofield and Robben Ford are teaming for the bow of the Chicago Blues Project.
Among the event’s tribute acts, the SFJazz Collective will celebrate the music of Stevie Wonder; saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis will lead a group honoring “Godfather of Soul” James Brown, with whom Ellis played from 1965-69; national touring project “A Night in Treme” (The Musical Majesty of New Orleans) is appearing in association with the HBO series “Treme”; and Bill Cunliffe and the Resonance Big Band with Marian Petrescu will pay homage to piano titan Oscar Peterson.
Comedian and jazz buff Bill Cosby will emcee the event, which annually attracts more than 35,000 patrons, for the 30th year. Cosby will also perform with makeshift group Cos of Good Music, which includes pianist Geri Allen, who will also be appearing with her Timeline Band.